Saturday, May 27, 2017

Jaleel Johnson

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings OTAs: 7 Positions Up For Grabs

The Minnesota Vikings’ organized team activities, or OTAs, began Tuesday. OTAs are offseason training sessions run with the purpose of developing players; or, simply put, practices without tackling. There are no 1-on-1 drills, only team drills.

OTAs can be a good barometer of how the team’s roster is going to shape up come the regular season. Generally, the players who practice together play together. Certainly, there are exceptions.

Lets take a look at several key position battles that will unfold during the Vikings preseason.

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Vikings 2017 Rookies
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Three days and seven trades later, Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman netted his franchise 11 new players. Without a first round pick—and his preferred 10 selections—Spielman was, as expected, one of the league’s more active draft participants.

Over the course of three days, he executed trades with seven teams, swapping 20 total draft picks in a convoluted string of transactions. When he was finally happy with his draft board and the team’s position each round, Spielman settled, garnering a class you’ve come to know well thanks to the Welcome to the Big Show series.

After the jump, I’ll compile each of the breakdowns with links and helpful graphics. This landing page should become an instant bookmark for you; an easy-to-reference guide on the 2017 Vikings rookies.

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Mike Zimmer lands another intriguing defensive tackle

Will Sutton Signing
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

In signing former Chicago Bears defensive lineman Will Sutton, the Minnesota Vikings accomplished an important offseason goal: bolstering depth in the middle of Mike Zimmer’s defense.

Understandably so, the focus through free agency and the NFL Draft was improving the pieces around Sam Bradford. Minnesota’s offense sputtered through a forgettable 2016 campaign, forcing general manager Rick Spielman’s hand in shifting resources to that side of the ball.

Still, Zimmer’s unit suffered its setbacks last season, from Anthony Barr‘s regression to the uninspiring play of defensive tackles Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen. The Vikings found a few solutions in the past few months, signing free agent Datone Jones and drafting Jaleel Johnson, two players expected to step in and contribute immediately.

With the Will Sutton signing, Zimmer now has the depth and flexibility in his front seven to feel comfortable heading into a pivotal 2017 season.

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The team at Vikings Territory has been busy working to get to know each of our newest Vikings draft selections and this week we will give you a chance to learn everything we know about these players through our reintroduction of the “Welcome to the Big Show” series.

Next Up: DT Jaleel Johnson

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